EMT Emergency Medical Technician Job Description: Top Duties and Qualifications

An EMT, or Emergency Medical Technician, responds to emergency situations by stabilizing patients before taking them to a medical care facility. Their main duties include transporting patients to hospitals, driving emergency vehicles safely and responsibly and quickly responding to calls made by Dispatchers.

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EMT Duties and Responsibilities

EMTs respond to emergencies and provide an appropriate level of care, which in many cases involves lifesaving treatment. EMTs also frequently respond to traumatic injuries, such as gunshot or stab wounds and injuries sustained from serious car crashes. Other essential duties and responsibilities for an EMT include:

  • Provide first-aid treatment, such as bandaging wounds.
  • Provide life support care, such as cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), when needed.
  • Assess a patient’s conditions and provide initial treatment.
  • Determine whether a patient needs to go to an ER or a trauma center.
  • Work 12-hour shifts, sometimes staying on call for 24 hours.
  • Communicate with other emergency services, such as firefighters and police officers, to respond to calls for help.

What Does an EMT Do?

EMTs are medical professionals who work for health care facilities and arrive on the scene of emergency situations to provide basic life support and patient care. They’ll work closely with Paramedics and other emergency medical personnel to assess the situation and provide care for the patient until arriving at the hospital. EMTs may also assist other health care personnel in administering advanced life support to patients in need. 

Many Emergency Medical Technicians are trained to drive the emergency vehicles in a safe but efficient manner to the emergency medical facility. When they arrive at the hospital, the EMT is responsible for explaining the situation to hospital staff and relaying the patients’ vitals. They must fill out patient reports after caring for a patient.

EMT Skills and Qualifications

EMTs require a lot of skills that they’re called on to use in high-stress and even dangerous situations. EMTs need a wide range of medical skills, with their abilities focused on first aid and lifesaving care. First aid encompasses things like applying bandages, cleaning wounds and stabilizing fractures. Lifesaving treatment ranges from stopping blood flow to performing CPR or using a defibrillator. Other important skills and qualifications for EMTs include:

  • The ability to work long hours without lowering the quality of care they provide
  • The ability to provide care in stressful situations
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Critical thinking skills
  • Situational awareness
  • Stress management skills

EMT Salary Expectations

The average salary for an EMT is around $15 an hour. An EMT’s pay varies, however, depending on their experience and factors like the job’s location.

EMT Education and Training Requirements

An EMT must meet several requirements in terms of education, training and certifications. To become an EMT or paramedic, you need a basic EMT certification. This requires six months to two years of studying, and candidates must complete national and/or state exams to become certified. Basic first-aid certifications, like a CPR certification, are also required. They usually have completed a two-year associate’s degree, though some candidates may have a bachelor’s or some college or university experience.

EMT Experience Requirements

All EMTs gain experience through the certification process. Before beginning, candidates will have real-world experience diagnosing injuries and applying stabilizing care. Even entry-level candidates will have basic emergency care covered. If an EMT is coming from a similar field, such as a paramedic or emergency response team member, they’ll likely have a few years of experience.

Job Description Samples for Similar Positions

EMTs have a lot of skills, and capturing all the requirements you need can be a challenge. To ensure you’re not missing any of the education and skills you need to include in your job posting, check out some samples and templates for similar positions:

Frequently asked questions about an EMT Emergency Medical Technician

 

What makes a good EMT Emergency Medical Technician?

A great EMT must have a calm attitude to help them respond to high-pressure situations and to relax patients or their family members during an emergency. They must also know how to react quickly and make logical decisions, so critical thinking and problem-solving skills are also important for ideal candidates to have. EMTs must also have strong interpersonal and communication abilities to actively listen to the concerns of patients and explain how they’re going to help them. 

 

What's the difference between an EMT Emergency Medical Technician and a Paramedic?

Though they both work closely together to provide care to patients in emergency situations, there are a few key differences between a Paramedic and an EMT. Paramedics typically have a wider skill set and more education than an EMT, so they can complete more advanced tasks, like conducting preliminary diagnoses on patients, administering injections and using complex medical equipment to provide immediate treatment or stabilize patients. 

Paramedics usually serve as the lead of the emergency teams, instructing EMTs on how to assist with patient care. EMTs are often qualified to perform more basic tasks and follow the instructions and guidance given to them by Paramedics. 

 

What are the different types of EMTs?

There are two main types of EMTs who are qualified to perform different job duties according to their job title. Basic Emergency Medical Technicians, also known as EMT Basics, are entry-level employees who perform basic duties on the scene, like taking the patient’s vitals, operating basic field equipment and clearing airways. 

A step above this job title is an EMT-Intermediate, who receives more training than an EMT-Basic. They’re qualified to use more complex field equipment and devices and can administer certain medications and fluids.  

 

What settings do Emergency Medical Technicians typically work in?

EMTs can work in a variety of settings, as they regularly travel to different areas to respond to emergency situations on site. A majority of their time is spent in an ambulance or other emergency vehicles, traveling to and from certain emergency situations. They’ll also work in the hospital providing patient information to Doctors, Nurses and other staff members. Many EMTs are also expected to work night, day and weekend shifts.

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